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Friday, 3 April 2015

Reflections on a Good Friday

Reflections on a Good Friday

"His journey of pain is now over. His healing is now complete."


I can always remember a particular Good Friday when I was growing up. It was a beautifully sunny day in England - the flowers were out, the winter had long departed, and the feeling of spring was in the air. I would probably have been about 8 at the time. 

My Dad was busy in the vegetable garden (we had a huge one, and Dad spent many hours there, preparing to sell veggies to people who would call so that we could have a vacation every year - and so that he could pay for my piano lessons). I approached him and asked, if Jesus died on this day, why was it called GOOD Friday? Why not call it BAD Friday? 

I can't remember the actual words in his answer, but it was along these lines: sometimes, when everything looks dark, bleak, and lost, there is something good that can come out of it. 

I didn't understand it then, but as I got older, I began to appreciate the wisdom in his answer. Whether by design or default, he didn't confine his answer to the parameters of my question, but went deeper to the fullness of human emotion. How many times, since that day, have I recalled that conversation? 

On this day, when so many people are retelling the story of what happened in Jerusalem so long ago, my Dad's words come to mind as I reflect upon recent events in my own life that have caused me to pause and think a little more deeply than normal.

Just two weeks ago, my brother passed away after being diagnosed with cancer just 11 months ago. In that short period of time, we watched him as he had to give up one thing after another as he succumbed to this terrible disease which affects so many people. He had lived a healthy lifestyle - a non-smoker, social drinker, and regular visitor to the gym - and yet this disease had struck him. He was just 71 and, up until his diagnosis, had lived a vibrant, active life. 


During those first few hours when I learned that he was not well, I felt myself being engulfed by darkness - the inevitable question of WHY came to the fore, and I had no answer to that question. I knew that if I allowed myself to plunge into the depths of pain, I could be of no earthly use to him or his family. I knew that, if I turned away from my own alignment, I would have nothing to offer him. 

A few days later, while we both sitting at the breakfast table, my brother told me that he didn't want me to put my life on hold for him and that just as he had lived life to the full, he wanted others to do the same. I promised him that I would continue to live life to the fullest, though would make adjustments, based on love, so that I could be there to support him. I told him that, although I was attempting to be gently positive (in a non-Pollyanna-way), the reality was that I was heartbroken. In my heart, I knew that it wasn't going to be easy, but I decided to focus on his wholeness, not his brokenness; to focus upon his healing, not his sickness; to focus on my brother, not the cancer. 

Over the next few months, we spent more time together than all the years beforehand. We had many conversations that were deeper - and more meaningful - than we had ever had, and said some beautiful things to each other that had remained unspoken between us. Indeed, it was a time of pain; but also a time that I will forever treasure because I got to really know my brother at a depth that had eluded us over the years in all of our 'busy-ness'. That was his gift to me. 

His journey of pain is now over. His healing is now complete. 

What I have learned from this experience? So many things, actually. But the wisdom of my Dad's answer to my question that Good Friday, many years ago, comes to the fore. We all have dark days - days which threaten to rob us of the joy of life. If we choose to look for the silver lining among the dark clouds, we will find it. And when we find it, we can hang on to it with all our strength. It may not make complete sense, but it will help us to get through those bleak times until we re-emerge into the light, renewed and strengthened in our character, and more true to ourselves and who we really are. 






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